Five Feet Wonder (This Week’s Movies)


Haley Lu Richardson, Cole Sprouse: Five Feet Apart (CBS Films)

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald, and etc.

Five Feet Apart. “Richardson, from Edge of Seventeen and Support the Girls, gives a rich performance — she creates an authentic, deglamorized human being.”

Wonder Park. “This movie doesn’t come together. But it might unintentionally generate a surplus of nightmare fuel.”

A new film by Michael Winterbottom opens this week, The Wedding Guest; I take the chance to retrieve a review of Winterbottom’s 1999 film Wonderland, for my Seasoned Ticket entry at Scarecrow Video’s blog. Read it here.



Movie Diary 3/13/2019

The World, The Flesh, and The Devil (Ranald MacDougall, 1959). Another big impression from childhood: the barren avenues of New York, the trash blowing through the streets as Harry Belafonte wanders alone after an apocalypse. (Great detail on that point: Belafonte putting his garbage in a street bin, as though it matters.) Still an interesting end-of-the-world piece, albeit dated in some of its concerns. Co-starring tragic Inger Stevens and glib Mel Ferrer. Good, tart dialogue from MacDougall, who also adapted Mildred Pierce.

Five Feet Apart (Justin Baldoni, 2019). Aside from a strong central performance by Haley Lu Richardson, this movie has a couple of things to recommend it: the effective “world-building,” which in this case takes place entirely within a hospital wing for cystic fibrosis patients, and the director’s canniness in using the widescreen frame to keep the characters at a distance from each other (they must maintain the distance in order to prevent infection). Unfortunately, the final third of the film short-circuits these notable attributes. (full review 3/15)

Movie Diary 3/12/2019

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (Alexandra Dean, 2017). Catching up with this documentary, which mostly exists to bolster the claim that Lamarr spent her life underappreciated for her inventions, specifically a WWII-era anti-torpedo patent that was later used in all kinds of things. Fine on that score, although a little more about the actress’s movie career would have been welcome.

An Actor’s Revenge (Kon Ichikawa, 1963). First time seeing this since going over the L. Donald Bartholomew’s place with my pal Jim Emerson and watching a 16 mm. print. It still looks good. I’m not sure I understood during that first viewing how consistently funny the movie is, even in the midst of its melodrama; you can’t miss the sheer flexing of widescreen style, anyway, which remains flashy.

Movie Diary 3/11/2019

Wonder Park (?, 2019). Original director Dylan Brown was fired from the film for inappropriate conduct, and imdb doesn’t list anybody else yet, and I wasn’t taking notes during the credits, so who knows. That isn’t the only question mark about this odd movie, which tries to get a little Pixar-thoughtful stuff going but may end up traumatizing the unsuspecting. Also, I don’t much care for the monkey. (full review 3/15)

Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959). The density of the Wilder-Diamond screenplay, the way every line of dialogue seems to connect to another line, is the kind of “world-building” I want in a movie. (Part of this series.)

Triple Kid Marvel (This Week’s Movies)


Brie Larson: Captain Marvel (Marvel Studios)

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald, and etc.

Captain Marvel. “Boden and Fleck leave room for quiet one-liners and sidelong glances — Mendelsohn is especially good at throwaway expressions, even in his space-lizard guise.”

Triple Frontier. “The only thing more rugged than the landscape is the collective will of our battered adventurers.”

The Kid. “The concept is promising, and D’Onofrio obviously has affection for the Western.”

Join us tomorrow (Saturday March 9) at Scarecrow Video at 1 p.m. for another session of Scarecrow Academy. We’ll look at and discuss Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot, a sparkling argument in favor of 1959 being the cinema’s greatest year. The event is free, but you can RSVP here.

My Seasoned Ticket post for the Scarecrow blog has to do with Jean-Luc Godard’s new film The Image Book, which opens this weekend.

Movie Diary 3/6/2019

The Kid (Vincent D’Onofrio, 2019). Some interesting ingredients here: Ethan Hawke as Pat Garrett, Dane DeHaan as Billy the Kid, and the concept of seeing the old story from the perspective of an on-the-lam adolescent who gets mixed up in the middle of the myth. As you might guess, having D’Onofrio as director means there’ll be a few eccentric moments in the acting ranks. (full review 3/8)

Movie Diary 3/4/2019

Triple Frontier (J.C. Chandor, 2019). Netflix production (opens locally this week at the Crest, then on your device on the 13th) with a taut premise and a manly cast. It’s a heist picture, the target being the bodacious stash of a South American drug lord. Oscar Isaac, Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam lead the roster. Some striking use of location work as backdrop to drama, Anthony Mann-style. (full review 3/8)

Captain Marvel (Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, 2019). Another slice off the Marvel loaf, with Brie Larson in the title role. Good co-starring role for an orange cat. (full review 3/8)